Literary Wonderlands: A Journey Through the Greatest Fictional Worlds Ever Created
Literary Wonderlands is a thoroughly researched, wonderfully written, and beautifully produced book that spans two thousand years of creative endeavor. From Spenser's The Fairie Queene to Wells ...more
But discovering new-to-you authors is the bigg ...more
I probably shouldn’t be quite so mad. As a whole, this is a fluff-piece, clearly not meant seriously; as amply demonstrated by the shallow blurb-like summaries of each ‘literary wonderland’. Few of the ‘essays’ even quote from the material, and when they do, it’s only once; none of the ones I read (in the spirit of honesty, I should tell you that I only made it halfway through the book before wishing I had a paperback copy to s ...more
There are five sections of books, beginning with Ancient Myth & Legend and then Science and Romanticism it ...more
Over a hundred entries, so the coverage is shallow.
A much better reference (and one that manages to pack a lot of useful info into short entries) is John Clute's The Encyclopedia of Fantasy.
 I did extract two titles of interest, so the effort wasn't entirely in vain.
I fell in love with this in the bookshop. I have a great weakness for books about books and leafing through the pages of beautiful illustrations and biographies of fantasy worlds that I had loved over the years, I felt that this was a book that I really needed to have for my own. Fortunately, it was just before Christmas and Santa Claus (in the guise of my parents) was very obliging. Tracking back from early mythology all the way thr ...more
Overall, this is a nice overview of the evolution of fictional worlds. That being said, a few of the choices confused me. Why was Asimov's I, Robot featured but not his Foundat ...more
Here's the NYT review, which you should read first:
TOC is at Google, with some samples: ttps:/ ...more
Ancient Myth and Legend
Science and Romanticism
Golden Age of Fantasy
New World Order
The Computer Age.
Ancient Myths and Legends includes th ...more
Of all the powerful spells that fiction casts upon us - absorbing plots, believable characters, vivid language - one of the least celebrated is its ability to make us feel transported to another time and place. — Laura Miller
How to review this book?
This is a book that doesn't quite know what it wants to be. With so many contributors it was going to take a serious effort to keep the book consistent. It appears to me like the range of contributors were just asked to write about the world of the b
This beautifully illustrated hardback book is perfect for book-lovers. It will take you from the time of ancient myth and legend, through the golden age of fantasy, right up to the contemporary computer age. As you journey through the ages, these literary wonderlands will also transport you throughout the world. Some of the locations are real such as the Spain ...more
I read the sections for books that I have already read. I was so glad to see some of my favorite series added to this collection. The rest I skimmed just enough to see if it where something I might like and then promptly added it to my list if it was.
The sections themselves are very interesting. It gives you a little information about the author, some mytholog ...more
If you’ve ever read a book of any kind and enjoyed it then Literary Wonderlands is the book for you. It is a stunning book to have. I absolutely love it.
One of the great pleasures of ‘real’ books for me is the presentation. It might sound ridiculous, but Literary Wonderlands appeals to almost all my senses. The quality of the materials here is so lovely to touch with smooth, crisp pages that make the spine give ...more
Each book is briefly described in a 2 - 3 page essay, with pictures.
Still, I managed to use it to find more books to read. I've got a handful of books from it that I didn't know existed, but liked the sound of. (And I'm supposed to be cleaning OUT my to r ...more
Second, in how it's organized. The works are divided by era, starting with 'Ancient Myth & Legend' and concluding with 'The Computer Age.' These larger frameworks create neat divisions of thought, and help contextualize the history.
Third, the writing is rather good for the first three ...more
However, this book has a structural and fundamental identity problem which makes it almost unreadably didactic and incongruent.
It reads like a bunch of high school book reviews flogging a common thesis to varying degrees of bloody torture. Some entries merely sting like a rubberband thwack. Some ...more
Each book, and world, that is ...more
Literary Wonderlands showcases some of the best-known and most noteworthy fantasy / speculative fiction in Western Literature. It works well as a coffee-table book - it is lavishly illustrated, interesting, and, lends itself well to casual browsing. The books - from The Epic of Gilgamesh to Shakespeare to H.G. Wells to William Gibson, are arranged chronologically and also around four distinct themes. The writers bring their considerable knowledge of literature and history to shed light ...more